Anshuman Karthik from the Department of Mechanical Engineering did his summer internship at Goldman Sachs. In an interview with Chennai36, he talks about the project, the selection procedure and shares some preparation guidelines. Read on to know more about the much coveted Go

Tell us something about the Summer Analyst Programme that you are a part of.

Actually, I am not entirely sure yet! It will take me a while before I fully understand the programme. What I know is that the summer analysts work on a bunch of mathematical models and/or various technological requirements Goldman Sachs may have. Currently, in finance, mathematical modeling, data science and machine learning are becoming more important than ever. Because of this, the need for people with strong quantitative aptitude and knowledge has gone up.

The program is divided into a bunch of divisions. There were  6-7 departments that had come to the institute to hire. The one that I have gotten into is “risk”. Securities, investment banking, technology, and risks are departments, to name a few.

Tell us how one goes about the selection procedure. Is there a CGPA cutoff? What were other criteria relevant to your selection?

Goldman Sachs probably has one of the most straightforward selection procedures. There is no strict CGPA cutoff and they’re quite lax about it. The selection procedure is a two-step one. The first is a common written test. This test has three sections:- quantitative aptitude; machine learning; coding and algorithms. Attempting at least one section is compulsory. Different departments shortlist different people based on their requirements. For example, the technology team would want very strong coding skills while another department would want strong machine learning skills in their interns. My advice to aspirants would be, if they are interested in ML, but not in coding and algorithms, then they should concentrate on ML and not care much about the latter. The quantitative part, most people should be able to attempt. It is more along the lines of JEE probability, combinatorics and puzzle solving. This, most will do well. The test, however, is fairly involved and not as easy as the other internship tests. The problems they ask can be comparatively tricky and conceptual. I didn’t attempt the coding section. I did only the ML and quantitative reasoning parts.

Let’s now talk about the interviews. Roughly about 40 people were shortlisted for the interviews after the test. Different departments interview you, independent of the other departments. This means that if you don’t do too well in one interview, you will get a second chance in another one. I was shortlisted by three departments. In my interview, they asked me math questions. They will usually ask math, ML or coding questions, based on the department. It is more like a discussion of what you know rather than an exam! So it is a gauge for your interest in math and ML. The interviewers were not very senior members (probably 3 to 4 years of experience) of the firm. Most of them are usually IITians, more specifically, from IITM. They will use insti lingo with you and be very chill with you. This, however, doesn’t mean that you take it easy. It is not possible to beat around the bush with them, as they know how you would think and try to cover up!

What were the PORs that you took up when you were a sophomore? Is there an ideal set of PORs that puts you in a better position to get selected for this internship?

Fairly relevant, I’d say. The PORs you take up do matter. I held the position of convenor of the music club. Even then, if you do well in their test, you can make it to the internship, as they care about this the most. Because of this, someone with a “not-so-good” CGPA or POR who wants a good internship, can consider Goldman Sachs. The resume also didn’t matter so much I feel. If you have done some machine learning projects or internship that might be relevant to the internship, that certainly gives you a boost. Make sure you point this out in your interview.

Are there any courses offered in insti that would be relevant to this profile? Is it necessary for you to have credited these courses in order to apply? How does one enter this field?

As far as I know, G.S.(Goldman Sachs) do not have a hard-and-fast criterion about anything and it is not necessary for you to have credited specific courses offered by the institute. The only thing they are very particular about is their test! However, doing relevant course would be very helpful in the test as well as the interview. Probability and statistics is a very important topic for us. I did not do any online courses for machine learning which is the general tendency of a newbie enthusiast. I studied from a book titled ‘Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning’ by Christopher Bishop. I think it’s important that we take into account that mathematical rigor in ML. I don’t recommend online courses. The MA2040 course was helpful in understanding probability and statistics.

What were the projects and internships you did in your first two years?

I worked on a web development internship at IIIT-H in my first-year summer. In my second year, I worked at Hitachi where we made some ML models.

So what do you expect out of this internship and what path do you want it paving for you?

I don’t have a lot of insight to the finance world but I am very interested in mathematical modeling and machine learning. I would like to stick to this line of work. I expect to get on this path through the internship. It is my first time in a corporate environment. Technical aspects of the finance world excite me!

Authors:  Rohith M Athreya (BT-ME ’21)

Editor: Sahithi Yamala (DD-CH ’21)

This article is part of the series – The Intern Guru. To get regular updates on our articles, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/chennai36 and Instagram @chennai36_iitm